The NBA, ESPN, and National Basketball Players Association have teamed up to put on the first-ever NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm. The match-ups feature current and former NBA and WNBA players, and the path to the final looks tough for all participants. The first round will take place on Sunday, April 12 from 7-9 p.m. EST, and the semifinals and finals are set for April 16 from 9-11 p.m. EST.
The challenge will be happening remotely, and players must describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score they intend to make before taking a shot. Dunking is prohibited — a major, major blow to Zach LaVine — and the first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated.
NBA HORSE Challenge begins Sunday, April 12, at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN! Who ya got? @TheTraeYoung vs. @1MrBigShot @Catchin24 vs. @MCONLEY10 @CP3 vs. @alliequigley @ZachLaVine vs. @paulpierce34 pic.twitter.com/NRhfBCHlJY
— NBA (@NBA) April 9, 2020
Here’s who we have winning each round (winners are in bold), all the way through the end of the tournament.
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) vs. Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons legend)
Now, Billups always was a smooth shooter, but I don’t think this is much of a test for Young. As we’ve seen him do at Oklahoma and for the Atlanta Hawks, the 21-year-old can pull up from almost anywhere and I think he has some tricks in his bag that Billups simply won’t be able to match. Would be quite fun if Billups could provide an upset here, though.
Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever legend) vs. Mike Conley Jr. (Utah Jazz)
This one is really tough, and some may argue that it comes down to the fact that Conley is still playing in the NBA every week — well, not right now — while Catchings has retired and is now the general manager for the Indiana Fever. But Catchings, arguably one of the greatest to ever play, only retired four years ago and I think she can brush off some of the rust to beat Conley here.
Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder) vs. Allie Quigley (Chicago Sky)
I don’t care what anyone says, this is the most exciting matchup of the night. Paul and Quigley are some of the best shooters the game has ever seen, but I think Quigley is simply too good. Last season for the Chicago Sky, Quigley shot 49 percent from the field, and in 2018, she scored 29 out of a total 39 points in the final round of the WNBA three-point contest, breaking a record for most points scored in a WNBA or NBA shooting contest since the rules changed in 2014. I think Quigley will beat Paul here, and it helps that she’s already begun preparing.
— Alexandria Quigley (@alliequigley) April 10, 2020
Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls) vs. Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics legend)
This one is really difficult to call, not that the rest were particularly easy to predict. I think LaVine is one of the more underrated shooters in the league, and he really does not like to be doubted. Before the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended, LaVine was shooting 45 percent from the field and coming up with clutch jumpers for the Bulls. Pierce’s mid-range game is is well-known, but I think LaVine might be able to hang with him shot for shot.
Trae Young vs. Tamika Catchings
Again, I think Young will prove to be no match for Catchings here. I expect him to show off his range and and come up with creative shots that Catchings will struggle to keep up with.
Allie Quigley vs. Zach LaVine
This will be a fun little Chicago showdown. But if Quigley can get past Paul in the first round, then the three-time All-Star will be able to handle LaVine without many problems. She is money from basically anywhere on the court.
Trae Young vs. Allie Quigley
This is incredibly tough. I could really see it going either way, but part of me thinks that Young might try to get too fancy and slip up here against Quigley, whose shooting ability I cannot overstate. The right side of the bracket is insanely tricky to get past, and I think that Quigley will make it to the final and surprise those who don’t watch the WNBA regularly. Quigley for the win.